Can Dogs Eat Ketchup? A Complete Guide for Owners

can dogs eat ketchup

Ketchup is a popular condiment that we add to french fries, sausages, BBQ meat, and many other foods. But can dogs eat ketchup? And what should you do if your pooch manages to steal a bit from your plate?

Here’s everything you need to know about feeding your pup tomato ketchup.

In Short: Can Dogs Eat Ketchup?

Dogs really shouldn’t eat ketchup for several reasons. Ketchup, and similar tomato sauces, have a lot of sugar and calories which don’t need to be part of your dog’s diet. Some types of ketchup may even be toxic to dogs due to their high salt content and other ingredients such as garlic powder, chili, and onion powder.

Why Is Ketchup Bad for Dogs?

Eating ketchup, especially in large quantities, can have some serious implications for your dog’s health. Whilst a small amount of the red stuff is unlikely to cause any serious concerns, too much could mean your pup needs medical attention.

#1 High Salt and Sugar Content

Ketchup is so yummy for us humans because of its high sugar and salt content. While that may make it a favorite for kids (and big kids), it can be a big problem for dogs if they eat too much and too often. Too much sugar in your pup’s diet could lead to obesity and several health concerns associated with it.

Likewise, too much salt in your dog’s food can lead to salt poisoning, which can cause lots of problems for canines. It’s best not to give your dog ketchup to be sure.

#2 Artificial Flavors

Lots of ketchup and tomato sauces contain artificial flavors and preservatives which aren’t healthy for dogs. They’re not necessarily toxic but they can cause your dog to have an upset stomach and can have some longer-term health implications.

#3 Added Ingredients

Many kinds of ketchup contain potentially harmful and toxic ingredients. These include onion and garlic powder which affect your dog’s red blood cells. Some ketchup may also contain an artificial sweetener called xylitol which is toxic to dogs. It’s best, therefore, to avoid adding ketchup to your pup’s diet unless you make it yourself.

dog licking

Dog-Friendly Ketchup Alternative?

If you want to feed your dog ketchup, the best thing to do is make it yourself. Before you do, it’s important to know that dogs can eat ripe tomatoes, but they should not eat unripened tomatoes. Green tomatoes contain solanine and tomatine, two toxic compounds that can cause your dog serious problems.

So, to make homemade tomato ketchup, only use ripe, red ones. Blend up some fresh tomatoes and freeze the mixture in a fun puzzle toy or doggy lick mat. For extra flavor and texture, you could also add some herbs such as basil or cilantro.

What Should I Do If My Dog Eats Ketchup?

If your pooch manages to eat a little bit of ketchup, it’s important to monitor them for any signs of poisoning. These can include vomiting, diarrhea, a rash, lethargy, and difficulty breathing. If your dog is experiencing these symptoms, take them to the vet immediately.

If your dog eats a large ketchup packet, you should contact your veterinarian straight away. They’ll be able to advise you on your next steps, based on how much your dog has eaten and their symptoms.

Can Dogs Eat French Fries With Ketchup

As you’ll see in our ‘Can dogs eat French fries‘ blog, this delicious side is not a good treat for dogs. French fries contain a lot of added salt and calories which can lead to weight and other health issues. Although not toxic to dogs, it’s best to avoid feeding pups french fries and ketchup.

You can find plenty of healthier food options on the BarkingTalk Food page.

Final Thoughts: Can Dogs Eat Ketchup?

Technically, plain ketchup is not toxic to dogs. The risks come when there are added ingredients or if your pooch eats shop-bought ketchup in large quantities. Ketchup contains lots of salt and sugar and potentially toxic ingredients such as garlic and onions.

If you really want to add a little ketchup to your dog’s sausage treat (in moderation, of course), you could try making your own. It’s much healthier and your pup will love it!